Name: Jada Russell
Location: Chicago | New York
Title: Co-Executive Producer | The Style Salon … Presenting the Future of Fashion
Director of PR | High Style Marketing & PR
What is the impetus for the “Style Salon … Presenting the Future of Fashion” program?
As a fashion publicist working with emerging designers for over eight years, it was easy to see the void in opportunities for young talent to present during New York Fashion Week. The Style Salon was created based on a major need in the marketplace. Our show, which just wrapped its fourth installation, has showcased designers from around the globe — Korea, West Africa, Milwaukee, Texas, Los Angeles and New York in hopes of bridging the gap between “emerging” and “established.”
What do you hope to accomplish through the program?
My partner, Joy Doss, and I have continuously focused on being a vehicle for emerging design talent to present their collections to the media, retail buyers, fashion stylists and celebrities in an effort to help designers grow their business. At the end of the day, designers need to sell garments. The best way to increase the probability of a line being purchased or being worn by a high-profile personality is to be showcased in a well-executed, industry-focused presentation during fashion week.
How can our community make a difference in diversifying the fashion industry?
Support emerging design! Every city has a local design community. And many of them are featured on e-commerce sites like etsy.com. Get to know them. A talented designer can be a great asset in terms of defining your own personal style. I believe diversification starts with raising visibility one designer at a time. Awareness is everything.
Why do you think there is a lack of diversity on the runway?
It’s important to note that in terms of creativity, the fashion industry works in a colorless environment. There are business entities that have been quoted as saying that black women don’t sell product. I think there is enough proof that this school of thought is not valid, through the branding power of first lady Michelle Obama, Halle Berry, Beyoncé, Queen Latifah, etc. Change is coming, and it will be reflected on the runway.
List some initiatives that readers can get involved with to help diversify the fashion industry.
Black Fashion Designers Association is a trade organization that supports design talent. Tweet and post looks you love from their collections, and when wearing their clothing, take their cards with you to create new opportunities. Word of mouth is so powerful in this industry. It’s also important to voice your opinion about the need for diversification to buyers of boutiques that you frequent and managers at your favorite department stores.
What are your social networks?